'Iron Man 3': A 'Dark Knight' Sequel?

Marvel's newest trailer and villain draw comparisons to Christopher Nolan, 'The Dark Knight Rises' and Bane.

If you devote yourself to an ideal, then you become more than just a man. You become an... Iron Man?

Hopefully you'll forgive the confusion between Marvel's Armored Avenger and DC's Caped Crusader. In fact, you might even share it, seeing that the brand new "Iron Man 3" trailer has less of Tony Stark's signature snark and more in common with the dark, dangerous tone of Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy.

"It feels very much like 'Dark Knight Rises,'" MTV Geek editor Valerie Gallaher tells MTV News about the new "Iron Man" trailer. "And if the movie follows the 'TDKR' and Nolan vibe, I think we'll see Tony in a world of pain."

A darker Iron Man shouldn't come at the expense of the quips Robert Downey Jr. has become so well known for, however. As Comic Book Resources columnist Brett White explains, "I don't think there is any way that with Shane Black and Downey at the helm, this will be a dour Nolan-esque film. RDJ improvises a lot of Stark's quips, and I don't think he'd dial that down when working with a director he loves working with."

"Besides," White adds, "there is absolutely no way Iron Man is going to let Mandarin's entire look happen in front of him without zinging him."

Indeed, one of the most talked about and polarizing elements from the "Iron Man 3" trailer is the film series' newest villain, the Mandarin, the ring-clad leader of the Ten Rings terrorist organization. Sir Ben Kingsley lends his talents to the bearded baddie, who is easily Stark's most notable nemesis in Marvel Comics lore. But the film version marks significant departures from the comic book character; his trademark mysticism has seemingly been cast aside for more of a real-world menace, one more likely to brandish a firearm than rely on magic as a weapon of choice.

"At this point, it's hard to say," ComicBookMovie.com junior editor Josh Wilding says of the effectiveness of Mandarin. "I mean, it's Ben Kingsley we're talking about here, so I'm not the least bit worried either way. From what we have seen, I like the costume, although those rings don't look like they're there for anything more than decoration. And the voice? It's... strange!"

Mandarin's oddly-uttered line delivery is perhaps the hottest topic of conversation surrounding his appearance in the trailer. It's not an unfamiliar topic for superhero fans, either. Just this summer, "Dark Knight Rises" back-breaker Bane's voice was the subject of many a meme, leaving one to wonder: Who has the more ridiculous voice, Mandarin or Bane?

"The silliest thing about Mandarin's voice is that it just sounds like a school teacher, which fits, since he gives us a 'lesson' in the trailer," observes White. "There's not much to it. So Bane has the edge, but Bane's voice also cycles all the way around the silly-cycle, back to being just plain engrossing."

Others have no problem with the way Mandarin sounds, like Kevin Polowy of NextMovie. "I had no problem with his voice. It's Bane all the way," he says. "He sounded like Patrick Stewart doing a Santa Claus voiceover!"

Strange voices aside, the consensus is clear: the "Iron Man 3" trailer is a big win for Marvel.

"I love this trailer. It's one of the best I've seen in a long time," says Polowy. "It's got a brooding intensity and slick style that just grips you. How can you not be excited?"

What did you think of the "Iron Man 3" trailer? Let us know in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @roundhoward!

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